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      12-13-2011, 08:39 PM   #1
iceraq
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Question Moving from US to London - Should I ship my car?

Hi guys,

Need your advice.

Living in the US and got a job in central london and hopefully moving soon. My car is an '07 335i coupe with 50,000 miles. Its a beautiful car with grey exterior, red leather, full option, and I have an extended maintenenance and warranty up to 6yr/100k miles in the US. (I realize this probably would not carry over in the UK)

I really like my car and I don't want to part with it. Ideally, I would want to take it with me to London. It seems like shipping cars is quite popular in london (especially when i visited in the summer, all sorts of exotics in Knightsbridge ) But realistically for a young working professional and not an arab prince:

How feasible is this if I were living in Central London?
How much parking per month would I pay?
How easy is it to get a drivers license?
How much in taxes per year would I be looking at?

I realize I probably would only use it on the weekends and I am ok with this. I would just like to have a toy to take out for a ride on a saturday afternoon out of the city. Additionally if I am trying to explore the rest of the country, I would much rather enjoy it in a nice car, rather than taking a bus and train everywhere!

Thanks,

Riz
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      12-14-2011, 01:44 AM   #2
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If it was a 911 or something I would say its wroth it however its just not worth the bother on a 335i.

You will have to go through the hassle of registering a non EU car in the uk, shippings costs and then when you do come to sell it a LHD imported 335i its going to be hard to sell in the uk.

used 335i's are really quite cheap in the uk. 20k will get you a very nice one.
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      12-14-2011, 02:37 AM   #3
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Agreed. Your car would not be road-legal in the UK anyway: you would need to change the headlights for RHD versions (the beam-pattern is obviously different). Added to that cost the cost of shipping, registration and import taxes and the extra insurance cost due to it being an imported LHD car and you would be much better off selling it Stateside and buying again in the UK.

As a rough estimate, road-tax is about 250 per year (varies depending on the car), insurance for an immigrant with no NCD (No Claims Discount) is liable to be over 1000 per year for a 335i. You'd need to hope that your accommodation comes with a car-parking space because there's nowhere to park in Central London other than residents' bays or public car parks at around 30 - 60 per 24h.
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      12-14-2011, 03:05 AM   #4
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Wouldn't bother mate. Good luck with the move.

And welcome to paying for fuel over here!
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      12-14-2011, 03:35 AM   #5
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Yes, I'm sure you'll look forward to buying gas at $9 per gallon....
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      12-14-2011, 01:30 PM   #6
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I think others have said it all. About the only people from the US I know who ship their cars are Forces personnel, but for them it's viable because the military sorts it for them. Central London comes with it's own challenges for car owners too, such as parking issues. Depending on how long you are coming to the UK for I would sell/store your 335i and buy here. Go on the BMW uk web site and you can search on all used cars in the dealer network to get an idea of a replacement. Alternatively, you could join a car club or rent something 'nice' when you need it. I may be wrong, but I think you can drive for up to a year on your US licence. I'm sure a search on the DVLA. Web site will confirm (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority).
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      12-14-2011, 01:34 PM   #7
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If you sell it let me know!
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      12-14-2011, 08:08 PM   #8
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If you are living in Central London you will have to pay the "congestion charge" which, IIRC, is 8 per day ($14?) and your U.S. license is only valid here for one year.

All the previous comments made also apply and it would be an expensive proposition to bring your car over and not really worth it.
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      12-15-2011, 02:59 AM   #9
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Life in the UK

Let's review car ownership in UK and specifically Central London

Prepare to pay the same money for a low mileage used car here as you would for a new car Stateside

BMW labour rates of $150.00+ per hour

$9.00 a gallon gasolene

$8.00 for every day you drive your car (the Congestion charge) which is money the City of London charges you to sit in its traffic jams. If you only drive occasionally, you'll need to log on and pay their fee for every day you want to drive (or be photographed and fined)

14mph average speed around London, much slower in rush hour(s) 7-10am and 4-7pm

Rip-off insurance rates. They'll charge you extra for LHD, foreign driving license, no valid 'no claims bonus', living in Central London, parking on the street, anything non-standard on the car like better wheels, being a male between the ages of 18 and 30, any citations you get while driving....you get the picture.

Cameras strategically placed on safe overtaking spots (our police force is fascinated with photography).

Traffic congestion on nearly all motorways and in and around cities during 7.00 - 9.00 and 4.00- 6.00

Filthy roads. With the exception of a couple of months a year, your car will either be permanently covered in a thick layer of grime, or if it really is your pride and joy, you'll need to visit the car wash most of the times you go for a drive, in which case it will be covered in swirls and look like its been sanded down after a couple of years

Keep plenty of money in your pocket. Towns and cities will charge you up to $5.00 an hour to park.

Britain is a strange place to drive a car. Its probably the only country in the World where the tax on a car related benefit (company car fuel) is higher than the actual benefit.

I enjoy driving but living in London, I would recommend you store or sell your car in the US and buy a really kick-ass driving simulator! And for the occasional days you really do want to drive, catch a train to a Hertz or Avis site outside London and rent something nice for the day...all of the fun and none of the hassle.

Last edited by SteveC; 12-15-2011 at 03:02 AM. Reason: typos
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      12-15-2011, 03:05 AM   #10
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The OP hasn't returned since his original post - perhaps he's changed his mind.
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      12-15-2011, 08:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenon View Post
The OP hasn't returned since his original post - perhaps he's changed his mind.
What about the car or London
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      12-15-2011, 01:03 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses guys.

Clearly, the whole shipping route isn't the way to go for me. Additionally, buying a car in the UK wouldn't solve the issues of keeping it in London.

What would you think if I bought a car and kept it parked somewhere outside Central London, would that change anything? Say I pay monthly for a Car Park in Croydon or Clapham . It would be a short train ride and done, right?

Falmouthboy - Do you know anything more about these Car Clubs? Any specific ones you would suggest?
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      12-15-2011, 01:47 PM   #13
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I think alot depends on where you will work and live. Do you know exactly yet?

If you live and work bang in the centre, tube can do everything and just hire a car when you want to go away for a weekend. There are Avis and Hertz places in the centre.

If you live somewhere where you can get a tube/train to work but also are outside of the congestion charge zone and can sort free parking, then I'd be thinking of getting something cheap to run around in when you need it - e.g. a cheap facelift Mini Cooper S for 4-5k.

I would ask around for advice on insurance companies who can recognise your no-claims in the US. They probably exist (I had to do the same in Germany and France which have different no-claims systems to the UK).

I personnally would not consider importing a LHD US 335i to the UK.

(I've previously lived in Camden and E14 when working in WC1 and had a Mk1 MR2 - long time ago now though....).
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      12-15-2011, 02:10 PM   #14
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Depends on where you live.
most places allow you to apply for a residents permit to park in your zone.
there is no issue as long as you are not too precious about keeping car undercover or away from dodgy parkers!

Move over, figure out where you are living, and buy a car.
I wouldn't bother paying for parking away from where you live, can be very pricey and you loose all the benifits of convenience when you need the car.
I.e tube strikes!!! :s
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      12-15-2011, 02:12 PM   #15
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ps i paid under 120 pounds per year for a residents permit in westminister.
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      12-15-2011, 02:39 PM   #16
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Having lived in Croydon it would be the last place I would want to store a 335 when not neededing it,
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      12-15-2011, 02:42 PM   #17
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The stuff about the congestion charge and parking charge is not really correct.

If you live INSIDE the congestion charging zone, you get a 90% discount. This makes the Mon-Friday charge 0.80 / day.

The parking inside central London will be zero cost (well you will have to pay about 100/year for the resident parking permit). The parking permit entitles you to park near your apartment. If you go elsewhere, the parking charge in Westminster is 4.30/hour but it is free after 6.30pm and all day Sunday. Also public transport is excellent, so you can leave your car parked for free outside your house while you take the tube/bus.

So to park your car in London will cost 5 x 0.8 = 4/week congestion charge + about 100/year parking permit.

Also I have never had a problem parking in Central London. The standard of driving is quite reasonable.
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      12-15-2011, 03:02 PM   #18
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Join a car club to get you started in London such as:
zipcar.co.uk
citycarclub.co.uk
Once you are settled in, you can then work out the exact costs involved such as parking/insurance etc.
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      12-15-2011, 03:55 PM   #19
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thanks for your responses!

fyi ill be working right off of victoria station. Probably will want to live somewhere close to there as well.

Sounds like whether to buy or not will be something I wait on till I get settled in... no rush.

In the meantime, is it easy to get a UK driver's licence? I hear people fail several times
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      12-15-2011, 04:09 PM   #20
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check with dvla some countries qualify for licence exchange , so no need to retest just swap for uk one, I know friend of mine came from aus and did just that
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      12-15-2011, 05:08 PM   #21
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I assume you will be working across the river from Victoria do you not have parking at your office?
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      12-15-2011, 05:10 PM   #22
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Re driving you can take condensed lessons as driving is quite different from the US. It may be worth getting a copy of the highway code in preparation.
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